Everyone always wants to know how to fly like a frequent flyer. While there are many tips and tricks, it is essential to start by arming yourself with the right apps to book the perfect seat at the perfect price.
I’m helplessly controlled by the apps I use for travel. As problems go, it’s a good one to have, but it makes me wonder if I could get around without my electronic travel posse. As addictions go, I don’t like to be alone in my overuse, so, please, join in. Here are some of the “must-have” tools that I use to plan my own trips:
Hipmunk (hipmunk.com - website and app) is a flight-booking tool that works best for comparing flights and prices and sorting them by time of day. Plan on winding down your weekend bender in Vegas on Sunday night? You probably won’t want to plan a flight at 6 AM Monday morning. Just use Hipmunk’s easy-to-read flight graph to find the best time/flight combination. You can also sort flights by “agony;” Hipmunk created this unique category to help travelers identify flights with fewer connections or fewer hassles.
SkyScanner (skyscanner.com - website and app) can work as a flight-booking portal or to dream up ideas for your next trip. Type in your departure airport, and enter “everywhere” as your destination. Enter the dates you want to fly, and SkyScanner will return results sorted by price, country, and destination city. It’s a great way to find a great destination that works with your calendar and budget.
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TripIt (tripit.com - website and app) remains the king of itinerary consolidation. Just forward the confirmation e-mails from your flight, hotel, or car-rental reservations, and, voila …TripIt turns it into one simple page, with all of your trip details, including confirmation numbers, dates, room, car, and flight information. I strongly suspect that it is powered by magical elves and unicorns, despite being told otherwise.
SeatGuru (seatguru.com - website and app) - While not always spot-on in its recommendations, SeatGuru remains the mother of airplane seat maps. Competitors like SeatExpert (seatexpert.com) get honorable mention, but they have yet to catch up with the ever-changing, ultra-confusing task of picking out the best seats on an airplane. Just go to the website or start the app, choose the airline and plane you’re flying, then use the “green means go, red means no!” color-coding system to find your seat before you fly.
ExpertFlyer (expertflyer.com - website) is an advanced tool that allows you to set seat alerts and find specific fare codes. The seat tool comes with the free service and notifies you if the seat(s) you want become available. But the meaty stuff comes with its paid membership. Use it to find availability aboard specific airlines using your frequent-flyer miles or look for flight availability and on-time information. The app gets a little technical, but the reward is often worth the effort.
Your flight preference and how much effort you want to put into planning will dictate which of these tools gets used the most, but each is very powerful in its own way. With constant developments in travel planning apps, these could be gone tomorrow, but, for now, give one or more of them a try, and be on your way to a more comfortable, organized trip.
Jake Redman is the founder of ModHop.com, where he has leveraged his personal travel experiences to help others get the most out of their travel experience, providing them with the information that they need to maintain the most comfort in their travel experiences at the lowest prices. Instead of telling travelers how to use their frequent-flyer miles, Redman’s posts on ModHop use video to show them exactly what they are getting, from how far their legs will stretch in a premium seat to what is offered in an airport lounge.